Of course getting drunk is not going to help your recovery when you’re ill

by Lorenzo Piccoli


So upon my arrival to Spain I have been very sick and I had to take antibiotics for ten straight days. In those days there happened to be one or two major festivals around the place where I was. Now, these two apparently unrelated facts explain why I stumbled upon this highly scientific article that is tellingly titled ‘Can you mix antibiotics and alcohol?’. The article debunks the myth that all antibiotics don’t mix with alcoholic drinks. It does so by telling two stories on how the myth was borne.

One is that because antibiotics are used to treat some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, doctors in the past were somehow punishing the patients for becoming infected by depriving them of their favourite tipple.

The alternative explanation was given by one of the authors of the London genitourinary clinic survey. James Bingham met the late Brigadier Sir Ian Fraser, who introduced the use of penicillin for injured soldiers in North Africa during World War II. At the time penicillin was in such short supply that after a patient had taken it, the drug was retrieved from his urine and recycled. Recuperating soldiers were allowed to drink beer, but unfortunately this increased the volume of their urine, making it harder obtain the penicillin and, according to the Brigadier, led commanding officers to ban beer.

In reality, thus, it seems that the answer to the original question of the answer is a resounding Yes. May beer give you pardon, peace, and absolve you from your sins. Although, as the title goes, getting drunk is probably not going to help your recovery when you’re ill.

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